Math anxiety is quite common but it can be a serious problem that causes stress and blocks learning for many students and adults. There are a number of things that can help. Afflicted students require patient guidance, lots of support and positive feedback. It’s very worthwhile for people to conquer their math fears because math is everywhere in everyday life as well as in science. Fortunately, there are proven strategies plus the recent availability of online math courses and games that can help reduce and control math anxiety.
Recognizing and Admitting Math Anxiety
The first requirement is to admit the problem. Then it needs to be understood that many people who had math anxiety did manage to overcome it. Success requires guidance and work. There is no magic wand.
Math can be viewed from a couple of perspectives that might be helpful. One is that math is a language and students need to learn some terms and their definitions very well before they can fully understand it. Students also need to learn its grammar before they can speak or use it with any fluency. Math can also be viewed as a game which requires us to learn both the rules and the kinds of plays that can be made to solve problems.
A great thing about math is that it possesses certainty. Every science and every other area of study is probable, not certain; their theories and “facts” are subject to change. Not so with math. When students learn things in math, they are true with certainty. Two plus three will always be five. Still, many students fear math so much they believe they can’t be successful learning it.
Strategies for Overcoming Math Anxiety
Here are some strategies for dealing with math anxiety that students can benefit from:
Master lower, foundational levels of math first.
Write down questions that arise in math study.
Practice solving math problems every day.
Study and practice math at least one hour every day.
Make it a habit to never put off studying math or doing math homework.
Talk about math with teachers and good math students.
Study math and do math homework with other students.
Develop a positive attitude about math by using often what one knows well (percentages for example).
Use online math games to practice math skills.
Take online math courses in areas that that are found to be difficult or to get a head start on a topic.
When a math topic becomes a struggle or challenge get the help needed to crack it.
Each level of math needs to be learned very well before one can have much success at higher levels. That’s because math keeps building on prior knowledge. If students don’t have a grasp of arithmetic they’re not going to do well in algebra. Most people seem to have trouble with some aspects of pre-algebra. Such trouble, unless remedied, could doom them to frustration when they really get into algebra and higher math.
Here are several areas that need to be really mastered and once they are, some math anxiety will fade away:
basic math facts
order of operations
There is much material available to assist drill and mastery of these individual areas. Some are games on the web. What they all have in common is the time they require the student to practice. Work and effort are required.
Math can actually become fun once a student starts mastering the basics. The student can then go to the next level with confidence and a positive frame of mind. But if one gets stuck in an area, asking for help to get through it is a good solution.
Online Math Courses and Games Can Help
A large number of free online math courses are available to students who are willingly to put in the time to learn math really well. These free college math courses include 100 from MIT alone. Some parents might like taking an online math course with their children so that they can talk about math together and help one another with problems.
Elementary school and high school lessons and games are abundant on the web. A great many sites are free, supported by advertising. It can take a bit of searching to find games and other resources that students will really benefit from and perhaps enjoy, but the more time spent working with math subjects the more quickly confidence will build and anxiety decrease.
Online Math Courses and Proven Strategies Overcome Math Anxiety
Math anxiety is a serious problem that afflicts many students and adults. There are strategies that can be effective at overcoming math anxiety but work and effort are required to implement them. Teachers, other students and group study can all help. Online math courses and math games can play roles in helping students and adults with their math challenges. A great many online math courses and games are free and those suffering from math anxiety should be encouraged to explore them.